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How to Strengthen Your Leadership Mindset

FY20 SWE Global Ambassador Bhavna Yadav explains how we all can work to become better, stronger leaders by strengthening our leadership mindset.
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“How to Strengthen Your Leadership Mindset” was written by Bhavna Yadav, SWE Global Ambassador for India.

Each one of us is born with the seed of leadership in us. Yet whenever we talk about leadership, there are typically only a few names that immediately flash through our mind: Mother Teresa, Ratan Tata, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, etc.

Do we really have to be like these larger-than-life people to become a good leader? No, we don’t have to be. We just need to work towards sprouting that leadership seed into a big and strong tree which can work towards the benefit of all.

Our mother is our first and foremost leader who teaches us all the important lessons of life. She is the one who steps forward to take all the responsibility of her little one and manages the household. Our mothers always take responsibility; they don’t say: “it’s not my job.” Taking the lead for any task with full devotion and performing it with the utmost honesty makes you a leader. Responsibility demands hard work and brings in power.

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
– John Maxwell

Leaders always lead on the path of righteousness and to do so one must be very poised and calm in any given situation, so that (s)he can respond rather than react to it.  When you are equanimous, your attention span increases which allows you to make well-informed decisions. Unfortunately in today’s world, leadership is often linked with aggression to achieve goals, which ultimately leads to stress and depression in today’s generation.

Five key points for polishing leadership thinking:

1. Be clear about goals: Leaders are never confused about the goal they are working toward. Clarity of thought around your goal is something which can be achieved only with a calm and focused mind. There are many helpful techniques which can help you practice that, such as yoga and meditation (or “mindfulness”).

2. Be established in the path: True leaders walk the talk and become the example of what they want others to follow. Even a child learns by observing what the parent does instead of what the parent preaches. The welfare of all is the motivation of a real leader.

3. Do not unsettle others: When a leader wants to bring about any change, it requires a lot of ground work and small steps. Abrupt change can invoke unsettlement in individuals and teams. Change is something which is resisted by many and trying to change others when they are not ready for it only disturbs them. A leader must accept the situation as is and then guide them to work towards a higher purpose, goal or vision.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams

4. Mingle with others It doesn’t matter how rich, educated or talented you believe you are, what makes you an exemplary leader is how you treat the people around you. They should feel a connection with you. It’s not at all difficult: once you start treating others the way you want to be treated by them, forming a connection becomes quite simple.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”

– John C. Maxwell

5. Empower Leaders must make others capable and independent so that they can lead their own way. Leading is different than dictating. When one leads, (s)he makes people feel confidence in themselves, and helps lift them from where they are to where they should be.

“People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

To conclude, leaders cannot be selfish or cannot use people for their personal benefit. Leaders are beyond individualism and are always concerned about the holistic picture. It’s no different from the parent’s selfless love for their children; True leaders consider everyone as their family. Hence, leadership thinking is all-inclusive thinking.

About the Author:

Bhavna Yadav became a member of SWE in 2018 and she attended her first SWE Conference (WE Local in Bangalore, India). She is also enrolled as a SWE Global Ambassador and member of the Curriculum Committee for FY20. Bhavna Yadav is a Senior R&D engineer with Synopsys India Pvt. Ltd.